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Lord Faulkner of Worcester: My Lords, my noble friend's reply was very helpful, but will he assure me that a committee of a club that is classified as primarily a men-only club which, under the new rules, would have to change, will not be allowed to pass a series of regulations which disfranchise women members who are associates from taking part in future elections?

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, the Bill does not prescribe how private clubs should operate. The committee applying for the licence must reflect the membership of the club because it will take responsibility respecting all the provisions of the Bill when it is enacted. Within that framework, women members of the club can participate.

Lord Goodhart: My Lords, I imagine that the Minister will not be surprised to hear that his response comes nowhere near satisfying me. I am very grateful, as, I am sure is my noble friend Lord Lester, for the general, though not universal, support that the amendments in the group have received.

The Minister says that Clauses 61, 62 and 63 marginally improve the position. I can only say that the improvement is so marginal as to be almost invisible. I can see no justification for saying that

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although women are now entitled to vote for membership of what I call the alcohol committee under Clause 63(2), it is perfectly legitimate for the club to pass a rule that women cannot be elected as members of the alcohol committee. If the Government are prepared to legislate to give all members a right to vote for the alcohol committee, it is wholly appropriate and logical that they should take the further step of saying that any member, subject to an age restriction, must be eligible to be a member of that committee.

However, in the circumstances, I do not intend to press the amendment. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

[Amendment No. 127 not moved.]

Clause 63 [The additional conditions for the supply of alcohol]:

[Amendment No. 128 not moved.]

Clause 68 [Authorised persons, interested parties and responsible authorities]:

[Amendments Nos. 129 to 131 not moved.]

6.15 p.m.

Lord Davies of Oldham moved Amendment No. 132:

    Page 39, line 38, at end insert—

"( ) the local planning authority within the meaning given by the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 (c. 8) for any area in which the premises are situated,"

On Question, amendment agreed to.

[Amendments Nos. 133 to 135 not moved.]

Clause 69 [Other definitions relating to clubs]:

Lord Evans of Parkside moved Amendment No. 135A:

    Page 40, line 16, at end insert—

"(ab) the supply of alcohol by or on behalf of the club to a member of the club in person for consumption off the premises where the supply takes place, or"

The noble Lord said: My Lords, I declare an interest as an active member of the Parliamentary All-Party Group for Non-Profit Making Members' Clubs. This is a straightforward amendment to correct an omission in the Bill.

If Clause 69 is passed in its present form, members' clubs, including organisations such as the CIU, the Conservative Association, the Labour and Socialist Clubs, the Liberal Democrat clubs, the British Legion and others, will be deprived of a service that they have enjoyed for over 40 years: the right for a club to sell to its own members in person alcohol to be consumed off the club's premises. That right is enshrined in Section 39(2) of the Licensing Act 1964, which the Bill will replace. It says:

    "No intoxicating liquor shall, on any premises in respect of which a club is registered, be supplied by or on behalf of the club for consumption off the premises except to a member in person".

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I have been a member of members' clubs for more than 50 years and I have never known any difficulties or problems in relation to the operation of that part of the 1964 Act. It is not a major contribution to any club's prosperity; it is simply a service to its members.

I suspect that the right of clubs to sell liquor to their own members in person—I stress that no one can walk off the streets and purchase liquor for consumption on or off the premises in a club of which they are not a member—was overlooked when the Bill was drafted. There is nothing in the draft guidelines referring to this strange omission. I trust that my noble friend will accept my amendment and restore to members' clubs the status quo that they have enjoyed for more than 40 years. I beg to move.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I emphasise that the Government recognise that there is much to be valued in this country's club movement and the role that private clubs play in our society. Of course, different considerations arise in relation to clubs, which are private premises to which public access is restricted. That is why they are treated differently and separately from pubs, bars and other licensed premises. It is why the supply of alcohol for consumption by members and guests on premises for which there is in a force a premises certificate is subject to a different regime, with lighter controls.

However, that applies only where clubs are run properly, where they do not pose a threat to the licensing objectives and where they do not seek, or encourage, trade from non-members. Safeguards are necessary here, as they are throughout the Bill, to prevent crime, disorder and public nuisance and to ensure public safety and the protection of children from harm. My noble friend, who has played a significant role with regard to working men's clubs, will confirm that the vast majority of such clubs present no problems in regard to the objectives I mentioned.

However, the amendment seeks to alter the definition of the supply of alcohol in relation to qualifying clubs. In doing so, it would affect all of Part 4, which sets out the new system for private member's clubs, and would broaden the scope of activities covered by the system of club premises certificates to allow for the supply of alcohol for consumption off the club premises.

Under the Bill, club premises certificates would not permit the supply of alcohol to members or guests for consumption off the premises—a premises licence would be needed for that.

Lord Evans of Parkside: My Lords, I ask my noble friend to withdraw the remark about guests. Guests have no right whatever to purchase alcohol in a club for consumption on, and definitely not, for consumption off the premises. The right of an individual member to purchase alcohol for consumption off the premises has existed for over

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40 years, and exists today, and has never constituted an abuse at any time under any circumstances of which I am aware.

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I stand corrected on the point with regard to guests and their ability to purchase alcohol. I shall not try to compete with my noble friend's knowledge with regard to the purchase of alcohol at private clubs. However, no one has asked us to change the position. Indeed, we have received representations from certain quarters that we may have been overly-protective of the club movement. We listened to those representations but concluded that the club tradition in this country is so important to the life of the country that it is worth preserving as it is. That is what we set out to do and I firmly believe that the Bill achieves that.

Requiring clubs to apply for a premises licence to supply alcohol for consumption off the premises would require the specification of a designated premises supervisor and ensure the presence within the club of at least one personal licence holder. As noble Lords will know, under the Bill, to qualify for a personal licence, individuals must be over 18, not have had their licence forfeit in the previous five years, have no relevant unspent convictions and possess a recognised qualification. That qualification would cover issues of social responsibility and all the offences relating to the sale or supply of alcohol.

The requirement for a premises licence is justified in relation to off supplies or sales on the grounds of promoting the licensing objectives as it would also ensure appropriate powers for the authorities to deal quickly and effectively with premises that have become a source of disorder, nuisance or crime.

My noble friend's amendment would substantially change the position. We seek to preserve the present position, recognising the value of clubs. I hope that on that basis my noble friend will be prepared to withdraw his amendment.

Lord Evans of Parkside: My Lords, I appreciate the difficulty of my noble friend in that he is not particularly au fait with the whole situation with regard to the club movement. I confess my dismay at his reply but, as I say, I understand his difficulty. Will my noble friend Lord Davies and my noble friend the Minister consider the matter further before Third Reading? I shall certainly consult the clubs association—

Lord Davies of Oldham: My Lords, I hope that my noble friend will allow me to intervene as the only opportunity I have to respond to that point is to intervene in his speech. I hope that he will forgive that rudeness on my part. I recognise that he presented the issue forcefully and contended that the provision

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would cause serious harm to the club movement. I should be only too happy to discuss the matter further with him.

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